There may have ben a few eyebrows raised among the Arsenal fans and the watching football media when they saw the Arsenal team selected by Arsene Wenger for today’s Premier League home clash with Southampton. After a slow start to the season it was important for the Gunners not to drop any more points and so even though we have a big European match on Tuesday it was expected that the boss would play as starong a side as possible.
I can understand why Wenger felt the need to leave Alexis Sanchez on the bench after his long and tiring international break with Chile, but I cannot see why he left Olivier Giroud out as well. I can also understand why he wanted to hand a debut to Lucas Perez, but surely not without Giroud or Alexis to help him on his debut.
As it was our new striker looked lost in the central striker role and before he was replaced just after the hour mark he had touched the ball just 31 times. Only Walcott had touched it less and he was at least making some good runs and affecting the game.
I don’t want to be too harsh on Lucas. He did look a bit better after the break but it was hardly a great debut and will not do his confidence much good. I blame the boss really, who threw him to the lions a bit and will hopefully ease him into life as a Gunner from now on.
The other debutant Shkodran Mustafi was always likely to play due to the club’s defensive injury crisis and his fuirst game for Arsenal went a lot better. Unlike Perez our German defender looked right at home and ended up having more touches and playing more touches than any other player on the pitch.
One early mistake apart, Mustafi looked calm and composed on the ball and sharp in the tackle and he looks to be a great addition to the squad. I am not writing the striker off but the two debuts could hardly have been different couild they?